President Trump on Wednesday announced that he is scrapping two councils that advise him on business policy and strategy amid reports both were struggling with retaining members.
Trump's tweet ends the Strategic and Policy Forum and the Manufacturing Advisory Council following controversy over his handling of last weekend's violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Rather than putting pressure on the businesspeople of the Manufacturing Council & Strategy & Policy Forum, I am ending both. Thank you all!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 16, 2017
A person familiar with the matter had told Bloomberg Wednesday that the Forum planned on informing the White House of its end Wednesday before making the decision public.
A member of the Forum, meanwhile, had told CNBC that it the group was indeed splitting apart.
The New York Times reported that Stephen A. Schwarzman, CEO of the Blackstone Group, organized a conference call with the forum's other members late Wednesday morning.
People briefed on the matter told The Times that business executives on the call debated how best to react to Trump's handling of the Charlottesville incident.
One option under serious consideration, according to The Times, was disbanding the forum entirely following Trump's remarks seemingly equating white nationalists and counter-protesters opposing them in Charlottesville last weekend.
The Times reported that several CEOs were expected to resign from the forum, which included four other members besides Schwarzman.
Laurence D. Fink of BlackRock, IBM's Ginny Rometty, Rich Lesser of the Boston Consulting Group and the Cleveland Clinic's Toby Cosgrove are the forum's other members.
Trump’s Manufacturing Advisory Council lost multiple members in the wake of the Charlottesville bloodshed before the president dissolved it Wednesday.
Two CEOs departed the council on Wednesday, for example, with 3M's Inge Thulin and Campbell CEO Denis Morrison both announcing their exit before Trump's tweet.
"Sustainability, diversity and inclusion are my personal values and also fundamental to the 3M vision," Thulin said in a statement. "After careful consideration, I believe the initiative is no longer an effective vehicle for 3M to advance these goals."
"Racism and murder are unequivocally reprehensible and are not morally equivalent to anything else that happened in Charlottesville," Morrison said in her own statement. "I believe the president should have been - and still needs to be - unambigous on this point."
Eight other business leaders had previously resigned from the council before Trump announced its expiration Wednesday.
Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich, Under Armour's Kevin Plank, Alliance for American Manufacturing President Scott Paul, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, and fellow AFL-CIO leader Thea Lee also left this week.
Uber's former CEO Travis Kalanick, Tesla's Elon Musk and Disney's Bob Iger left the council earlier this year over issues unrelated to Charlottesville.
Trump on Tuesday reiterated that "both sides" of last weekend's unrest in Charlottesville share some of the blame for three deaths that occurred there.
One person was killed when a man drove a car into a crowd of protesters targeting white nationalists, while two Virginia State Police Department officers died in a helicopter crash linked to the unrest.